Graduate Student Honors & Awards

Commencement hoods


  • Doctoral Fellow Solving Botswana Water Scarcity Crisis
    From the College of Letters and Science: EPS graduate student Goabaone Jaqueline Ramatlapeng can vividly remember when she would go without water from domestic pipes for days. Growing up in Kopong, a rural village in Botswana, Ramatlapeng and her family faced a plight that those in surrounding villages knew as well: water scarcity. And when the water did flow, it was salty. “This part of my childhood made me develop a desire to venture into water chemistry research and be resourceful to my country in terms of informing their water management decision-making and devising strategies to augment water supply,” said Ramatlapeng. 
  • Professors for the Future
    EPS graduate student Elaine Young is a 2022-23 UC Davis Professors for the Future Fellow. Professors for the Future (PFTF) is a year-long competitive fellowship program designed to recognize and develop the leadership skills of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated their commitment to professionalism, integrity, and academic service.
  • AAUW International Doctoral Fellowship
    Goabaone Jaqueline (Jackie) Ramatlapeng has been selected as a 2022-23 recipient of an American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Doctoral Fellowship. Since 1888, AAUW has been one of the largest funders of women’s graduate education, investing in women who go on to change the world.
  • Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowship
    Goabaone Jaqueline (Jackie) Ramatlapeng is a Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellow. Goabaone (Jackie) is interested in investigating the spatial and temporal controls of river water chemistry in arid environments, focusing on the Okavango River flowing through the inland Okavango Delta in semi-arid Botswana. The Okavango Delta is the largest freshwater wetland ecosystem of international importance in Southern Africa and serves as an important source of potable water and food to nearby communities. Her research findings are instructive for water quality assessment and informing water management decisions by the Botswana Government and the Tri-country (Namibia, Angola and Botswana) of the Okavango River basin. The Faculty for the Future Fellowship program seeks to positively impact gender balance in science disciplines by reinforcing the presence and qualifications of women in developing and emerging economies. It aims to give the opportunity to scientific women from developing and emerging countries to pursue a PhD or a postdoc in the best universities abroad and to return to their home countries to contribute to its socio-economic development.
  • From EGU Blogs: "Both earthquakes and research project directions can be hard to predict. This week Becky Fildes, a graduate student at UC Davis, takes us on a journey of how she came to study earthquake behavior in Hawaii during an active volcanic eruption and how our understanding of caldera collapses can be further improved."
  • LPSC2022 Haiku Contest
    EPS graduate student Supratim Dey has placed 2nd in the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Haiku contest. By longstanding tradition, many attendees of the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (a weeklong meeting held every March near Houston) compose conference mini-abstracts in haiku form.
  • 2022 UC Davis Grad Slam Semi-Finalist
    EPS graduate student Benjamin Faulkner (Ph.D. student) is a 2022 Grad Slam Semi-Finalist. Ben's research topic: "The Salad Days of Reptiles”. UC Grad Slam is an annual contest where master’s and Ph.D. students across the University of California – in disciplines ranging from hard sciences to humanities – compete to sum up their research for a general audience.


  • Earth and Planetary Sciences graduate student Carina Fish is a finalist for the 2022 class of the Sea Grant John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. The one-year fellowship places early career professionals in federal government offices in Washington, D.C. Knauss finalists are chosen through a competitive process that includes comprehensive review at both the state Sea Grant program and national levels. Carina's area of study is marine biochemistry/paleoceanography.
  • Alba Mar Rodríguez Padilla's proposal “Testing Constituitive Laws for the Evolution of Off-Fault Deformation over the Earth Cycle” has been selected for funding as one of the Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) Awards. Alba will be analyzing and modeling permanent deformation associate with growing faults in a variety of settings, ranging from Volcanic Tablelands in California, the Afar Rift in Ethiopia,  and the Valles Marineris on Mars.
  • Alba M. Rodríguez Padilla has received a 2021 Student Presentation Award from the SSA. The award honors excellent poster or oral presentations at the SSA Annual Meeting. Nominated by meeting attendees, a three-person judging panel selected the 19 award recipients among the eligible pool of student presenters. Read Alba's abstract: “Beyond the Damage Zone: Characterizing Widespread Inelastic Deformation From Integrated Fracture, Aftershock and Strain Maps of the 2019 Ridgecrest Sequence”
  • Esther Kennedy has been awarded the competitive North Pacific Research Board’s Graduate Student Research Award. Awards are granted to address scientific, technological, and socioeconomic issues relating to the research themes identified in the NPRB Science Plan. Esther will be using modeled oceanographic conditions to develop indicators of ocean acidification and temperature stress in Bering Sea king crab populations for use by fishery managers.
  • Barbara Wortham has been awarded a 2021-2023 NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship. The goal of the fellowship is to train the next generation of leading researchers needed for climate studies. Barbara will be going to UC Berkeley to work with Daniel Stolper (Earth and Planetary Sciences) and Todd Dawson (Integrative Biology). Her research topic is "Assessing the role of global CO2 variability on plant function throughout the last 55ka in California."
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences graduate student Veronica Vriesman is one of the 2020-2021 recipients of the Chancellor’s Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community, in recognition for her efforts to enhance equity and inclusiveness within the campus community. The virtual presentation is available online.
  • Hannah Kempf is one of ten recipients of the UC Davis Bilinski Fellowship at Bodega Marine Lab for 2020-2021. Bilinski fellowships are awarded to outstanding doctoral students whose selected projects, based at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, exhibit innovation, collaboration, and are a key component of the student’s final dissertation. Hannah is interested in how shellfish respond to climate change. At BML, her project will investigate how traditional ecological knowledge can help buffer shellfish against ocean acidification. To do so she will collaborate with Native scholars, and use genomics and shell structure tools.


  • Geology graduate student Supratim Dey is a recipient of a NASA's FINESST scholarship (Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology). Entitled: Establishing Planetary Genealogy of Iron Meteorites and Pallasites using Nucleosynthetic Isotope Anomalies of Chromium and Titanium, the primary objective of the proposed research is to establish the genealogy of important groups of planetary materials and to determine the provenance of their parent bodies in the early Solar System using nucleosynthetic isotopic anomalies in meteorites.
  • Michael Huh and Tyler Schlieder are 2019-2020 ARCS Northern California Scholars. ARCS Scholars are selected annually by qualifying departments of science, engineering and medical research within ARCS Foundation's 51 academic partner universities and colleges.


  • Simon J. Lock, former UC Davis visiting graduate student (current postdoc at the California Institute of Technology), is awarded the 2019 Pellas-Ryder Award for his paper titled “The Origin of the Moon within a Terrestrial Synestia” published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Planets in 2018. The Pellas-Ryder award is awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who is first author of the best planetary science paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal during the year prior to the award. 
  • Graduate student Veronica Vriesman is a 2019 recipient of a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports individuals early in their graduate training in STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics) fields.
  • Geology graduate students Veronica Prush and Babs Wortham are 2018-19 Professors for the Future (PFTF) Fellows. PFTF is a year-long competitive fellowship program designed to recognize and develop the leadership skills of outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have demonstrated their commitment to professionalism, integrity, and academic service.


  • Carina Fish is a 2018 Dr. Nancy Foster Scholar. The Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program provides support for independent graduate-level studies in oceanography, marine biology, or maritime archaeology, particularly to women and minorities. This program is administered through the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries as mandated by the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.
  • Carina Fish has been awarded a 2018 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Administered by the Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs seek to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.
  • Grasshopper Anderson-Merritt is one of the top finalists for the 2018 UC Davis Grad Slam competition. The Grad Slam is a contest where graduate students from across campus compete to sum up their research for a general audience.
  • Jessica Mizzi, a Microbiology Graduate Group student working with Dawn Sumner, has been honored with a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Jessica is working on understanding how light and hydrogen sulfide affect the distribution of oxygenic versus anoxygenic photosynthesis in natural environments to understand the effects of O2 production on Archean microbial communities.



  • Graduate student Erik Davies has received a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship for his research on the "Thermodynamics and Mechanics of Large Impacts".
  • Allison Rubin receives the GeoPRISMS Student Prize for best talk at the 2015 Fall AGU Meeting.
  • Graduate student Mark DeBlois has been awarded a 2015 Love of Learning Award from Phi Kappa Phi.
  • Graduate Student Andrew Fowler received an Outstanding Student Paper Award in the "Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Section" at the Fall 2015 AGU Meeting. His presentation was titled, "Alteration of Crystalline and Glassy Basaltic Protolith by Seawater as Recorded by Drill Core and Drill Cutting Samples."


  • Graduate student Alisha Clark received a best poster award at the 2015 Annual Meeting of COMPRES in Colorado Springs. Her poster featured her work on "Pressure dependent elastic properties of amorphous silicates by GHz frequency ultrasonic interferometry and high pressure X-ray microtomography".
  • Graduate student Mark DeBlois has been awarded the UC Davis Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship for the 2015-2016 academic year.
  • Outstanding Student Paper Award Recipients: American Geophysical Union, Fall 2014
    • Alisha Clark (Mineral and Rock Physics): Volumetric and elastic properties of basalt at high pressure by X-ray microtomography and GHz-ultrasonic interferometry
    • Austin Elliott (Tectonophysics): Slip rate gradients along parallel strands of the eastern Altyn Tagh fault confirm modeled rupture behavior at a transpressional bend
    • Mark Stelten (Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology): The Dynamics of the Post-Caldera Magmatic System at Yellowstone: Insights from Age, Trace Element, and Isotopic Data of Zircon and Sanidine


  • Geology graduate student Andrew Fowler has been chosen as one of the 2014 Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation Environmental Fellows.
  • Geology graduate students Jessica Hosfelt and Chad Trexler have each received an Honorable Mention for their Graduate Research Fellowship proposals to NSF.
  • Geology graduate student Mark Stelten was named as a recipient of an Outstanding Student Paper Award from the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Section of AGU for his presentation, "The mechanisms and timescales of rhyolite generation at Yellowstone caldera:  New insights from 238U-230Th crystallization ages, trace-elements and isotope composition of zircon and sanadine," presented at the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.


  • Geology graduate student Chad Trexler received a 2013-14 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Awards (ARCS). The ARCS Foundation provides scholarships to outstanding academic students in science, medicine, and engineering, thereby contributing to the worldwide advancement of science and technology.
  • Geology graduate student Mary Barr received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP). The purpose of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program "recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in fields within NSF's mission."
  • "An Integrated Multidisciplinary Re-Evaluation of the Geothermal System at Valles Caldera, New Mexico" by Geology Graduate students Andrew Fowler, Scott Bennett, Maya Wildgoose, and Carolyn Cantwell was determined to be one of the best of 214 presentations at the 2012 Geothermal Resource Council Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada.


  • UCD Geology graduate student Amy Williams received the Dean's Prize in the category for Best Oral Presentation, among L&S graduate students from the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the 2012 Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Symposium.
  • UCD Geology graduate student Katrina Arredondo received an honorable mention by the 2012 NSF GRFP Award Committee, one of only 3 Geoscience students to be recognized from the entire UC system as the proposed graduate institution.
  • Geology graduate student Andrew Fowler receives the Geothermal Resources Council's (GRC) Best Presentation Award for his oral presentation "Hydrothermal Alteration and Geochemistry in Core Hole BC12-31: Implications for Segregation of Transient Flow Regimes in the Long Valley Geothermal System" at the 2011 GRC Annual Meeting (Geology/Exploration 11 Session) in San Diego, CA this past October.
  • Geology graduate student Scott Bennett receives the Geothermal Resources Council's (GRC) Best Presentation Award for his oral presentation "Geothermal Potential of Transtensional Plate Boundaries" at the 2011 GRC Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA this past October.


  • "Students win national geothermal energy competition": The UC Davis Geology Geothermal Team wins the National Geothermal Student Competition (NGSC), a first-of-its kind intercollegiate competition that challenges students to advance their understanding of geothermal energy's potential as a significant contributor to the nation's energy portfolio in the coming decades.
  • Geology graduate student Lael Vetter was recently selected by the Paleoceanography & Paleoclimatology Committee of the American Geophysical Union, as a recipient of an Outstanding Student Paper Award for her presentation "Intrashell isotopic and trace element variation at the micron-scale in cultured planktic foraminifers" at the 2010 Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
  • UCD Geology graduate students Joshua Garber and Amy Williams were awarded Career Development Awards at the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference last week. Only 8-10 students received this honor nationwide. Both were recognized at the Plenary Session at LPSC in March.


  • Geology Graduate student Ryan D. Gold is the 2010 Recipient of the Allen G. Marr Prize for his dissertation: "Latest Quaternary Slip History of the Central Altyn Tagh Fault, NW China, Derived from Faulted Terrace Risers". The Allen G. Marr Prize is awarded by the Office of Graduate Studies at the graduate commencement ceremony to a present or past UC Davis doctoral student in honor of superior dissertation work.